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Posts Tagged ‘The Byrds’

David Crosby now

“DAVID CROSBY: REMEMBER MY NAME” My rating: B-

95 minutes | MPAA rating: R

As a founder of the Byrds and a long-standing member of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young,  David Crosby can claim to be rock ‘n’ roll royalty.

His musical accomplishments, though, are overshadowed by a personal history that features three heart attacks, a liver transplant, diabetes and epic drug addictions which in 1983 earned him a five-years sentence in a Texas prison.

Now 78 years old, estranged from his former bandmates  and still touring to keep a roof over his family’s head, Crosby looks back on his life and career in “David Crosby: Remember My Name,” the first feature documentary from director A.J. Eaton.

The film has a solid first hour, then loses focus and sort of drifts off in its final 30 minutes.

Still, there is much to admire here, for this is no warm dip into fuzzy nostalgia. The white-haired Crosby comes off as brutally honest about his failures: “Big ego. No brain.”

He was, he admits, a massive jerk.  Only after his legal comeuppance forced him to go cold turkey in a jail cell did he get his life in order; he reports that until his stint in prison he had never performed straight.  Not once.

In matters of sex, he recalls, “I was a caboose to my dick…there are borders I’ve crossed you’ve never heard of.”

The son of Hollywood cinematographer Floyd Crosby (“High Noon”), young David grew up in an emotionally stifled environment.  Rock music was his salvation.

The doc features vintage footage of the mid-60s Byrds in performance; Crosby’s main contribution was an unerring ear for vocal harmonies.

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Jakob Dylan and band (foreground) play a tune by the Byrds

“ECHO IN THE CANYON”  My rating: 

82 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I may not be the ideal individual to review “Echo in the Canyon,”  Andrew Slater’s doc about the musicians who lived and created in L.A.’s Laurel Canyon from 1965 to ’67.

We’re largely talking about the  Byrds and Buffalo Springfield, two groups with which I’ve been semi-obsessed for more than 50 years. So, yes, I’m a fanboy and “Echo…” is like a dream come true.

That said, I don’t think you have to be of any particular age to appreciate this narrow but flavorful slice of pop music history. Divided almost equally between talking heads and musical performances, this doc is tuneful, insightful and, yeah, awesomely nostalgic.

Our guide is musician Jakob Dylan (yep…Bob’s son) who in 2015 produced a tribute LP of songs from the Laurel Canyon era and followed that up with a concert of the same material.

He interviews lots of folk — producer Lou Adler, musicians like Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton, John Sebastian, Ringo Starr, Graham Nash and Tom Petty — for their memories and impressions.

Among the artists who re-interpret the classic songs are Fiona Apple, Beck, Norah Jones, Cat Power and Regina Spektor.

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